AUSTIN (KXAN) - The economic impact from the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix is something Austin will not know immediately, but some shops said their sales just did not live up to the hype.
"It was extremely dead down here," said Ashely Avery, a sales clerk at Aaron's Rock and Roll on East Sixth Street.
Avey said her novelty shop overstocked and overstaffed, trying to lure fans inside. But Monday morning brought the realization that their efforts were not worth the trouble.
"Not only were we not making money, but we also incurred extra expenses, having to pay extra people to be here, pay people overtime, pay for extra merchandise," she said.
People have to eat and sleep, but they do not have to shop. Other retailers, like Luxe Apothetique , found even being near the packed Fan Fest was no help.
"Just wasn't all we had hoped for," said the store's assistant manager, Rica Carney. "Lot of people showed up. Seems like it brought some families downtown, but not that many customers."
The Austin Chamber of Commerce said this first race was a learning curve for businesses. Though they will have to adjust for the future, Dave Porter – the chamber's senior vice president of economic development – said his organization saw the weekend as a "win, win, win."
"I don't think anybody knew what to expect, but I think everybody was well-prepared. It's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared," Porter said.
Avey said she knows how to prepare her store for Formula One next year, feeling the crowds even scared off their regular shoppers.
"We'll just consider it a regular weekend or maybe even a slow weekend, because it was really terrible," she said.
Comparing the local economic impact:
- In 2011, ACL Fest brought in around $73 million
- In 2012, SXSW drew around $74 million
- A recent economic impact study prepared for the Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee estimated Formula 1 would make a local impact of $275 million for out-of-area visitors alone
Porter added that the racing event has greater business potential during the decade it is scheduled to stay in Austin.
"It put us in the spotlight," he said. "We got some inquiries about companies wanting to be here, and I think everybody had a great time."
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